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franklin county times

Upper 'manage'ment

By Staff
Jonathan Willis FCT Staff Writer
Dribbling a basketball across the faded hardwood floor at Belgreen's gymnasium as an eighth grade statistician, Brian Pounders never imagined the places the sport would take him.
Now, as head manager of The University of Alabama men's basketball team, he is doing his part to get the Crimson Tide ready for this weekend's Southeastern Conference basketball tournament in Atlanta and, hopefully, another run deep into the NCAA tournament.
Pounders, a 1998 Belgreen graduate, has spent the past four seasons working with the Crimson Tide staff and soaking in as much basketball knowledge as possible while serving as a student-manager.
Planning to be a basketball coach his entire life, he volunteered to help the Crimson Tide program in any way that he could during his first year on campus.
It was a move that would pay dividends.
(assistant) Coach (Darron) Boatwright and let them know that I wanted to help any way that I could," said Pounders, who led Belgreen to the regional championship game as a senior in high school, while playing for his father, Steve. He also garnered Class 1A All-State honorable mention honors that season.
A life-long Alabama fan, Pounders just wanted an opportunity to join the Crimson Tide program in any way that he could.
He was rewarded with a partial scholarship for the 2001-2002 season, a near full scholarship the following year and full scholarships for the past two years.
Though his job detail encompasses a broad spectrum of duties, Pounders said that he has been willing to do whatever is asked of him to help the team.
Part of his responsibilities include picking up visiting coaches and former players at the Birmingham airport.
Not only has he met many of basketball's biggest names over the past four years, he has also gotten to see every part of the United States.
One of the reasons that he has gotten to visit so many places is due to the fact that the Alabama basketball program has experienced one of its most successful periods in history during his time on campus.
The 2001-2002 team captured the SEC regular season title and the following year Alabama was ranked #1 in the country for the first time in school history.
But it was last season's magical run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament that ranks as his most memorable moment.
Pounders said that a little bit of what he has learned at Alabama can be seen every now and then in Franklin County.
Coming from a small high school in rural northwest Alabama, his background is much different than that of many of the players on the Alabama team.
Pounders hopes to use all that he has learned from the Alabama staff and turn that into a college coaching job of his own.
Gottfried agrees that what he has learned will help Pounders in the future.
The Crimson Tide captured the SEC Western division title with a 23-6 record this season and will play the winner of the Ole Miss-South Carolina game at 12 noon Friday at the Georgia Dome in the second round of the SEC tournament. The SEC tournament will conclude Sunday afternoon and the brackets for the NCAA tournament will be announced that afternoon.

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